20/20 vision is a luxury.

I went to my yearly eye exam today and scheduled my sons’ exams while I was there.  After finishing my appointment, the front desk clerk apologized and told me that the boys’ frame allowances did not renew until next year.  I assured her this was fine and that I’d still prefer to get their eyes checked regardless, but I thought about it as I was driving home.  We have eye insurance, and even with it, we’ll need to pay for their glasses out of pocket.  Children destroy glasses just by being kids.  Expecting a child’s glasses to not be in a state of disrepair by the end of twelve months is expecting a child not to engage in developmentally appropriate things like playing outside.  I’m an adult and I’ve scratched my glasses getting out of my car with my own keys.  Of course a kid might ruin their eye wear.  It’s a bit unfair to determine that kids only need new glasses every two years, not every year.  Our youngest lost his glasses months ago, or I did.  Neither one of us can remember.  My oldest has bit the rubber off of his ear pieces and warped his spectacles by repeatedly trying to pull shirts on and off over them, instead of taking them off.  These are both reasonable behaviors for his age, and consequently, his glasses absolutely have to be replaced.  Even with insurance, getting eye care is challenging.  Like most doctors, optometrists and ophthalmologists usually work from about 8 am to 6 pm, or somewhere in between.  For a guardian working an hourly wage position, taking a child to an eye exam is lost money.  Taking a child to a physician of any kind costs money in the form of lost wages, extra gas costs, etc.  Families in poverty, despite sometimes having access to healthcare through programs like Medicaid, often need to forego eye care because Medicaid doesn’t cover the expenses to get to that appointment.  It doesn’t cover the financial burden of getting to and from an eyeglass store, because many doctors do not carry frames.  Plus, when doctors do carry frames, they’re sometimes more expensive than the insurance will cover.  It also doesn’t cover the risk associated with taking time off.  Women especially are in danger of not being hired because they have children and therefore may be anxious about the consequences of requesting scheduling changes related to family care.  Getting glasses just isn’t as simple as some believe that it is. 

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